Catherine Ross, Collin County Reporter
The tight-knit community of Tioga - with 800 residents - is coming together to support country singer Randy Travis as he fights for his life in a Collin County hospital.
Grammy Award winner Randy Travis' adopted hometown is asking for prayers for the singer, who is still in critical condition after brain surgery at a North Texas hospital.
Travis had surgery Wednesday night to relieve pressure on his brain after a stroke, his publicist said. The country music star singer had been improving at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano while being treated for heart failure caused by a viral infection when he had the stroke.
In Tigoa, residents have placed "Pray for Randy Travis, One of Our Own" signs along U.S. Route 377 that are visible as drivers enter and leave the North Texas town with a population of just more than 800.
"A small community like this, everyone feels like they know everybody," said James Hilliard, co-owner of Clarks Outpost restaurant and bar, a spot Travis is known to frequent. "Everybody is friends with everybody."
"He's a great guy, down to earth, always has time for his fans," Hilliard said.
Kim Hilliard, who also works at the restaurant, said Travis is always quick with a smile and to say hello.
"He just walks right up to me and gives me a hug and says, 'Hi, Kim, how are you doing?'" she said.
Fellow waitress Brenda O'Keefe said Travis usually comes in on Wednesday nights and orders ribs.
Other patrons said Travis is quick to donate to any local cause, saying if Travis doesn't contribute to a benefit around town, it's because no one tipped him off to the fundraiser.
"I don't think he acts like a celebrity," O'Keefe said. "Of course, he knows he is, but he acts like a normal guy."
According to Travis's website, two July performances scheduled in Canadian cities have been canceled. His next scheduled tour stop is Aug. 15 in Lewisville, Idaho.